Veggie Cheese Poppers

Fried foods are always a craving at my house. But we all know how unhealthy it is for you.As usual, I came up with a way to make a family favorite a little healthier. These veggie cheese poppers  are packed with vegetables and is a better alternative to your restaurant bought mozzarella stick. It’s an easy way to get veggies in!

It’s not deep fried, and you can also bake them at 375F for about 15-20 minutes. Just make sure you grease your muffin tin and spray olive oil over them before baking. I personally prefer browning in  a pan with a little olive oil. The texture is great for younger kids too!

And when you bite into it, you get a pleasant surprise. The kids at them all!

Veggie Cheese Poppers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 sweet potato (peeled and steamed)
  • 1/2 c. broccoli (measured raw, steamed)
  • 1/4 c. baby carrots (measured raw, steamed)
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • String cheese
  • 2 tbs. Olive oil

Instructions

  1. Steam all vegetables
  2. Using a blender, blend vegetables, egg, and seasonings until smooth
  3. Mix in bread crumbs. Note: depending on breadcrumbs used, you may have to add a little more until pasty consistency
  4. Cut string cheeses into one inch pieces
  5. Using a cooking scooper, place sweet potato mixture onto palm of hand
  6. Add cut string cheese in the middle and form into a ball
  7. In a pan, add about 2 tbs. of olive oil
  8. Brown on all sides, on LOW heat
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/07/veggie-cheese-poppers/

No Cook Veggie Marinara Dip

The art of dipping. I think my three-year old could win a medal if dipping t was a sport. He, like so many other kids,  loves to dip everything and anything into anything and everything. Why not make their dipping sauce a bit more healthy and veggie packed? This no cook veggie marinara is especially great for picky eaters.

The sauce is homemade, and doesn’t need cooking. It doesn’t get easier than that!

We paired it with one of our favorite breads, Brazi Bites. It’s a cheesy bread made  with simple wholesome ingredients. It’s also gluten free. Best of all, it tastes great. and goes from freezer to your table in 20 minutes. Huge disclaimer friends, you can’t eat just one! It’s that good.

Veggie Packed Marinara Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 grated zucchini
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 slice bell pepper (add more to taste if desired)
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 pitted date

Instructions

  1. Prepare all ingredients
  2. Blend and serve
  3. Enjoy!
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/05/no-cook-veggie-marinara-dip/

*If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you Brazi Bites for sponsoring this post. 

 

Corn Dog Donuts

My oldest son recently discovered corn dogs at Disneyland. I considered it a fun treat for him to have. Problem is, he wanted two and then when we got home, he wanted more! I decided to make my own and made them healthier by baking it. I also chose no nitrate hot dogs and organic corn bread mix.

Furthermore, did you know corn dogs are choking hazards? By cutting it thinly or in small pieces, you can make it safer. There is a way to cut it (lengthwise), that you can easily google.

Hope you enjoy this recipe. Remember if you don’t have a donut pan, you can always make corn dog  muffins. Also, for those of you not wanting to buy box cornbread mix (recipe below homemade mix), here’s a homemade recipe.

HOMEMADE CORNBREAD

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbs agave nectar (you can use sugar, or honey)
  • 3 tbs melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2 hot dogs (we used nitrate free organic)
  • Olive oil spray

1. Preheat oven to 375F

2. In a bowl whisk butter, agave, and egg

3. In the same bowl add milk, sour cream, salt and baking soda and mix

4. Add flour and corn meal last and combine well.

 

Corn Dog Donuts

Ingredients

  • 1 Box Cornbread mix (we used organic)
  • Ingredients per box instructions
  • 1-2 hot dogs, sliced thin slices or small tiny pieces
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Per box instructions, mix corn bread mix with recommended ingredients
  2. Grease pan
  3. Either fold in hot dog in mix or save to place on top
  4. Fill pan with corn bread mix, top with hot dog
  5. Bake per box instructions
  6. Serve with mustard and/or ketchup
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/05/corn-dog-donuts/

Hidden Veggie Egg Salad

Veggies. These fiber rich foods are oh so good for you, but oh so hard to get your kids to eat it. At least that’s what I gather from the dozens of messages I get from all of you. If you’ve followed my blog or social media you’ll see I try to offer my kids veggies at every meal.  I came up with this hidden veggie egg salad recipe while trying to fulfill this goal. It was one of those days where I knew we would be home late for lunch and I had to prepare something quickly. I boiled some eggs in the morning with the plan of making egg salad. Then, as expected when I got home, had not much time before nap time. I looked in the refrigerator, combined a few things and voilà, almost all the food groups in one bite.

Tip: You can also just steam some cauliflower and smash it, or cook some rice cauliflower with a little olive oil.

Hidden Veggie Egg Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 egg, boiled
  • 1 tbs. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs. avocado
  • 1-2 tsp. riced cauliflower, steamed
  • Paprika to taste
  • Bread
  • .

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mash the boiled egg
  2. Add mayo, avocado, cauliflower and mix
  3. Sprinkle paprika and combine
  4. Top on bread and serve with chips and fruit
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/02/hidden-veggie-egg-salad/

P.S. If you have a super picky toddler with texture issues, you can cut the cauliflower amount to 1/2 tsp., but honestly you can’t hardly taste it! You can also just use avocado only, that in itself has much more nutrients than just mayonnaise.

Buttered Bananas

Every now and then memories come up from my childhood. I often think about what foods I ate growing up, especially when I’m trying to figure out what to fix for my kids.  I grew up eating pan fried butter bananas.  Whether it was for breakfast or a snack, it was such a treat! It tastes incredible, but the one I remember is packed with sugar. I made our traditional family recipe healthier and baby friendly. It has no refined sugar, but is still tasty. Plus, all you need is 3 ingredients!

 

Buttered Bananas

Ingredients

  • 1 banana (ripe, but not overripe)
  • 2 tbs. butter (melted)
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp. peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Cut bananas, or split in half
  2. In a bowl, mix melted butter, cinammon,and nutmeg.
  3. Combine bananas with butter mixture
  4. In a nonstick pan, cook bananas under low-medium heat until brown
  5. Brown on both sides
  6. Serve plain, on yogurt, or on waffles or pancakes
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/02/buttered-bananas/

P.S. I added peanut butter for added protein, but you’re more than welcome to omit. You can also use maple syrup instead of honey (for the waffles) if your child is under one

Stuffing Muffins

At our home, Thanksgiving means lots and lots of leftover food. Either we cook too much or we eat too little. I like to believe we eat too little, but that’s not likely the case. So what to do with all that stuffing and turkey? It’s always nice to have turkey and all the fixings for another day, but I can’t eat three times in a row.  That said, if I change-up how it’s served, a few more days of turkey and stuffing is a-ok in my book. This stuffing muffins recipe is perfect for leftovers and is a big hit with the kids.

Stuffing Muffins

It’s like Thanksgiving all in one bite and is perfect for little fingers. These are also great for snacks on the go especially for those kiddos who love muffins. The cranberry adds the perfect sweetness to every bite and it’s simply delicious.

It’s easy.  First you mix the egg and a little milk in a bowl.

mixing

In another bowl, mix your left over stuffing, cooked turkey, and spinach. We had creamed corn on our menu, and we ate it all. Since I always like to serve veggies whenever I can, I decided to add some chopped spinach.  We love spinach because it’s relatively tasteless and isn’t bitter. You can add leftover chopped green beans or Brussels sprouts too.

stuffing-mix

Next it’s time to bring out your handy-dandy muffin tin. We use our muffin tin a lot around here. Don’t forget to grease it with cooking spray before filling  I repeat, don’t forget to grease it. Or you will have to scrub and soak the tin for days. Trust me, I’ve learned my lesson. One time I had to throw the tin away!

Fill each circle with the stuffing mixture to about 3/4 full. You don’t want to fill it all the way because you need to leave a little room for the egg. You also want to loosely fill the tin.  Don’t smash the filling in because you want the egg to get in between the stuffing.

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Next comes the best part. Sprinkle some dried cranberries over the top to add a little sweetness.

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Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tin leaving some room for it to expand.
Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or so and enjoy!

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PRESS PLAY!

This is my contribution to Tori Spelling’s website. I recently met her and she’s the sweetest gal! She has a lot of great recipes there.

Chickpea Snack Bites

So many parents who write me asking how to get their kids to try new foods. Themed lunches are a great idea to entice them to take a bite. I’m fully aware some of us including myself may be too busy to create themed lunches all the time,  but once in a while it may help your picky eater. Ps:  If you DO create these lunches, that’s so awesome! I’m a firm believer that once your child at least tries something, they may give that new food a chance. These chickpea snack bites are a delicious protein and fiber addition to your kids lunch box.
img_0754

Much like all dishes I make, this was inspired by my boys. My older son loves squirrels! He helped me make this with a cookie cutter. Here’s another tip for picky eaters who only eat white bread. I know some of you struggle with kids asking, “what are these black seeds on my bread?”.  Right? Try mixing it up. Make a sandwich with one white bread and one wheat. We made the pine cone ish looking thing (I’m telling you I don’t this often), with a grape and a baby carrot. The leaf is a red apple which I carved quickly with a knife. And of course star of the box is the chickpeas. So yummy!

Chickpea Snack Bites

P.S. if you don’t give sugar to your child, you can always serve it plain or with parmesan and garlic.

After we made the lunch, we made eating the meal a fall activity. Every morning, two squirrels pass through our back yard. We went looking for them at lunch time. When we couldn’t find them, we set up a picnic blanket on leaves. They never show up when you want them to. I read a book and voila.. it was a fun day.

Chickpea Snack Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans (organic if possible)
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. coconut sugar
  • 1 tbs. maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Wash garbanzo beans and drain
  3. Rub off shells and remove (don't worry about removing it all, just try to)
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  5. Bake garbanzo beans for 20-30 minutes, check every 15 minutes and shake baking sheet for even cooking
  6. In a bowl, mix the remaining ingredients
  7. When beans are crispy, transfer them to a bowl and mix in maple syrup mixture
  8. Bake for another 5 minutes to carmelize
  9. Cool and allow to dry and serve
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/11/chickpea-snack-bites/

**Thank you Yumbox lunch for sponsoring this post. If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

Chewy Granola Bars

I love granola bars, especially chewy ones. I just don’t like the ingredients list on the store-bought ones. This chewy granola bars recipe has no refined sugar and only uses three ingredients, four if you add chocolate chips. You know.. it’s totally optional, but also totally necessary. You can also add cranberries or leftover Halloween candy, like m&m’s. It just depends how strict you are on sweets.

In just 15 minutes and voila, you’ll have a quick relatively healthy treat to share with the little ones. Note: No honey before one years old.

granola-bar-1

Chewy Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 1.5 c. rolled oats
  • Chocolate chips, or desired toppings (optional)

Instructions

  1. Note: no honey before one years old!
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. In a bowl, mix honey and peanut butter until well combine
  4. In a small sauce pan, pour honey and peanut butter in.
  5. Cook on low until melted
  6. Mix with rolleds oats
  7. Add chocolate chips
  8. In a baking dish, press down oats mixture until even
  9. Bake for 15 minutes
  10. Allow to cool and cut into bars
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/11/chewy-granola-bars/

Zucchini Broccoli Tater Tots

When I talk to moms about food and picky eating, veggies are always a struggle. There’s no surprise there! Halloween is fast approaching. This holiday is a great time to introduce green foods.Many kids won’t touch anything green let alone eat it. Sometimes it’s a little more convincing to call things green monsters, incredible hulk juice, etc.  If you make your meals a little fun and festive, they may just give it a try. Once they’ve tasted it they just might realize it’s not that bad. These zucchini broccoli tater tots recipe is super tasty, even my husband and I enjoyed them.

I made these tots just a little more fun by putting candy eyes on them. I called them little green monsters. Fortunately, my son eats broccoli on its own, but no more than three or four stalks. He gobbled up about 10 of these. Dipped it in some “blood” (ketchup) and he thought it was so cool. Kinda gross to me, but hey.. we aim to please.

I packed it in a  Yumbox for a quick lunch while we went to an indoor playground. It was a perfect complete healthy meal. Also a quick tip: coat your avocado slices in olive oil and it will stay nice and green, no browning.

broccoli-tot-box-final-photo

zucchini-broccoli-tots-1

Give this a whirl, it has protein, grains, and veggies all in one.

 

Zucchini Broccoli Tater Tots

Ingredients

  • 1.5 C. steamed broccoli
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 small zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. cheddar cheese/Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 tsp. 21 seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Instructions

  1. Steam broccoli
  2. In a blender, add all ingredients and blend until pasty
  3. Form tater tot shapes
  4. In a pan, cook in a little olive oil, flip so all sides are brown
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/10/zucchini-broccoli-tater-tots/

*Thank you Yumbox for sponsoring this post. If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

Flu Fighter Jellies

Some of you have toddlers starting preschool soon. Or you might have older kids going back to school. Unfortunately, the start of school season marks the start of flu season. It’s never fun to see our kids sick. I’m a firm believer of using nature’s nutritious foods to stay healthy. Why not arm your kid’s bodies against the cold and flu with these flu fighter jellies?

Kiwi Bears 3

Studies show that loading up on vitamin c may help shorten the length of time you’re sick and reduce the severity symptoms. And while the first fruit that comes to mind when I think of vitamin c is an orange, there are many more common fruits and veggies filled with more vitamin c.  Kiwis pack the ultimate vitamin C punch. It has 137 mg of vitamin C and also rich in potassium and copper. Oranges only have 51 mg. That’s more than double!

Flu Fighter Fruit Jellies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. pureed kiwi
  • 3 tbs. gelatin powder
  • 2-3 tbs. honey or to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut kiwi for easy blending
  2. Puree kiwi and add gelatin powder
  3. Microwave for 60-90 seconds
  4. Whisk in honey
  5. Using a dropper fill gummy bear mold
  6. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 24 hours (the longer it sits the firmer it becomes)
  7. You can also use fruit juice, see below.
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/08/flu-fighter-jellies/

P.S. you can also add 1/2 c. fruit juice to create a mixed flavor. Sprinkle gelatin into fruit juice and microwave for 60-90 seconds then whisk in kiwi and honey. Every 1/2 c. of juice or kiwi I would use about 3 tbs. of gelatin powder.

TIP:

  • Eat immediately, or store in the fridge, it doesn’t do too well packed
  • Don’t over blend the kiwi, the seeds will turn bitter!
  • Use sweet fruit! If it’s sour to begin with, the jellies will end up sour.
  • This is more of a jelly consistency. For a harder texture use other fruit like pureed strawberries, grape juice or apple juice

Thanks Zespri Kiwifruit for sponsoring this post! It’s our new go-to kiwi fruit. The sun gold variety is hairless and has a delectable tropical sweet taste. We can’t get enough of it! Did you also know that kiwi is a natural tenderizer? Check out this recipe here: Summer Skewers

*If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!